How to Know Jesus Christ

Meditation Christian Stock PhotoAll of us at one point in our life have asked the questions,”Why am I here?” or “What is the meaning of life?” By asking these questions and being honest with ourselves, we know there is something much greater than ourselves out there. To be human is to ask questions! It is our belief that the church is to be in the business of helping people answer the questions they have in life.

To begin with we would like for you to take a moment and answer two questions:

  1. Have you come to a place in your spiritual life that if you would die tonight you know for certain you would go to heaven?
  2. If you die tonight and were standing before God, and He should ask you. “Why should I let you into heaven?”, what would you say?

 

To really answer the questions that we all ask, we must first start with that greater force outside of ourselves, which we believe is God. To ask the question of the meaning of life begins a journey toward a life with God: eternal life, which God offers as a free gift.

Heaven or Eternal Life

First, Heaven is a Free Gift – God offers Heaven (or Eternal life) as a free gift. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is
death, but the free gift of God is eternal life…” (Romans 6:23)

Truth Religious Stock ImageSecondly, Heaven can not be earned or deserved – We as a human race cannot work our way into heaven nor do we even deserve a place in heaven. The Bible clearly states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

If we did something on our own to deserve eternal life then we could boast that whatever great and marvelous feat we did here on earth got us to heaven. As our passage states above, eternal life is a free gift, not a result of works. This is hard to swallow for some, especially in our “pull yourself up by your boot straps” society. We cannot work our way to heaven. No matter how much money we give to the church; no matter how many elderly women we help walk across the street; no matter how many volunteer hours we give they will count for nothing in light of eternal life. God has a standard for eternal life, and us working for it is not that standard.

Let me try to illustrate this concept of eternal life as being a free gift: Let’s say that you visited our church to worship with us. As is our custom we like to give something to our visitors. In the process of giving you, the visitor, a gift from the church you say that it is too much for you to receive and you would like to put some money in the offering to help with the cost of the gift. The minute you put any money in the offering, be it 1 penny or 10 dollars, the gift ceases to be a free gift, because you have in some way paid for the gift, even if you didn’t cover the entire cost of the gift. Eternal life is like that. God offers eternal life to us as a free gift. If we try to give anything to Him in return for it, eternal life ceases to be a free gift since we paid for it, even if we didn’t cover the entire cost of that gift.

This whole concept of eternal life being a free gift comes into clearer focus when we see what the Bible has to say about man.

Man

When we look at man we must recognize that the human race is in a state of depravity before a holy God. Several concepts are clearly stated in Scripture that tell us of the plight of man.

Man of Faith Christian Stock PhotosFirst, the Bible describes man as being sinful. Contrary to what some may say we, as a human race, have a problem. We are sinful people. We see it every day when we open our newspapers. Someone was murdered, raped, stolen from, or mugged. The Bible states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Notice that it said ‘all’. Everyone that has ever been born or ever will be born has already sinned. So sin is our main problem. How do we define sin? Sin can be defined as anything against the will of God. We have already mentioned the big ones (murder, stealing, rape, etc.), but there are also sins that we commit in our minds (lust, coveting, jealousy, etc.) and sins of omission; that is, not doing something we should do, like pray to God, read His word, help other people, or acknowledge Him. Just seeing our daily newspapers should be enough to prove that we have a problem.

Secondly, the Bible states that we cannot save ourselves. This goes back to the previously mentioned idea that we cannot work our way into Heaven. There is nothing that we can do on the planet to get us into Heaven. As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ himself stated that the standard of being like God was perfection. “Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

If the standard is perfection and we have flaws, then there is no way we can save ourselves. It would be like a drowning man grabbing his own hair and dragging himself to shore. It is just impossible!

This impossibility to save ourselves becomes very apparent when we see what the Bible has to say about God.

God

When we study the person of God we must understand the Bible describes God simply in two ways.

Gold Crown Stock PhotoFirst, the Bible describes God as love. “God is love” (1 John 4:8) Therefore, if God is love He doesn’t want to punish our sin. He hates our sin but He doesn’t want us to get hurt. But…

Secondly, the Bible describes God as being just, which means He must punish our sin. “…yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” (Exodus 34:7)

So, we as human beings have a problem. We are sinful and separated from God because of our sin. God loves us but hates our sin. So there is still this separation between us and God. Well God took it upon Himself to solve this problem that we as a human race find ourselves in . This problem was solved in the person of Jesus Christ.
 

Jesus Christ

When we speak of Jesus Christ we must define who He is. Many have said Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, a prophet, Son of God, etc. He was all these things. But more important than what others have said to describe Jesus is what the Bible itself has to say about who Jesus is. In Scripture the Bible describes Jesus this way: “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) and the Word (Jesus) was with God and the Word (Jesus) was God. He was in the beginning with God.” “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-2; 14) The Bible describes Jesus as the infinite God-Man. He was both truly God and truly Man. And it’s not just enough to know this fact. We need to understand what Jesus did and what His mission was when He came to earth.

Resurrection Religious Stock PhotoJesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and to purchase a place in Heaven for us. The walls of separation between God and man came crumbling down when Jesus died and rose for our sins.

The Scripture tells us in Isaiah 53:6 that “all of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” Our iniquity (or sin) was placed on Christ when He was dying on the cross. Jesus Christ’s death was a death that atoned for our sins and brought us back into a right relationship with the Heavenly Father.

So there is the gift that God offers: reconciliation between Himself and us, through the person of Jesus Christ. How do we receive this great gift of forgiveness and reconciliation? We receive it simply by faith.

Faith

Keys to the Kingdom Christian Stock PhotosFaith is the key that opens the door to Heaven. Let’s say that you have a set of keys in your hand, and one of those keys opens the front door of your house. No matter how hard or how often you try, the other keys on your key ring are not going to open that door. There may even be some keys on the ring that fit into the lock yet won’t release the tumblers to open the lock and allow you in. Faith in the atoning death and work of Jesus Christ upon the cross is the only key that unlocks Heaven’s door to us.

Faith is one of those words that can have several meanings, so let me take a moment and define what faith is not.

Faith is not mere intellectual assent or knowing historical facts. We all believe that George Washington lived. He was our first president, he fought against the British to free our country and his portrait is on our one dollar bill, but we are not trusting in George Washington for anything. Knowing intellectual historical events does not lead one to eternal life. Many people believe in the historical Jesus but are not trusting in Him. The Bible tells us in James 2:19 “You believe that God is one, you do well; the demons also believe and shudder.” The demons believe in God but they are not going to spend eternity with God. So faith is not just knowing about God or Jesus Christ.

Secondly, Faith is not mere temporal faith. This is the type of faith that has a beginning and an ending. Say for instance that you are going in for surgery and you pray that you will be protected during the surgical process. The surgery has a beginning and an ending. So your faith is temporary due to the temporary nature of the procedure. This type of faith is not saving faith.

Prayer Religious Stock ImageThe faith I am talking about is saving faith. Trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. Not trusting in historical data or temporary situations but resting on the fact that Jesus Christ died for the forgiveness of your sins. With such a great gift that God extends to us the normal question that is asked is “How do I receive such a wonderful gift?”

God’s gift of eternal life is received by faith through prayer. By praying a prayer similar to the one below and having a humble attitude and taking serious the grave situation we all find ourselves in before a holy God, you can receive eternal life. God is not concerned so much with the words of your prayer but the attitude of your heart. If your life of running from God is finally catching up with you and you sincerely want to receive the forgiveness of God then simple pray this prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I realize that I am a sinner and do not deserve eternal life.

Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I trust you whole heartedly for my eternal life. I believe you died on the cross and rose from the grave to purchase a place in heaven for me. I open the door of my heart right now and ask that you come in and make me the type of person you want me to be. I repent of my sins, confess you as Lord and will do my best, as you give me the strength, to walk in a way that honors you. I give you complete control of my life.

Amen

If you sincerely prayed this prayer of repentance you are now a child of God. The Bible states, John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”

Welcome to the Family of God!

Rejoice Evermore Christian Stock PhotosIt is important that you find yourself a church home that cares about your spiritual growth. If you would like to know more about growing in your new found faith or would like some material that further explains what you have just done, please contact our church office.

God Bless you in your journey of faith. Be sure and tell others about your decision. If this page has been meaningful to you and your spiritual walk, please email us and let us know.

 
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First Baptist Church / 220 East Central / Arkansas City, KS 67005620-442-3510 / firstb@sbcglobal.net